Joy Pringle (in green) and Hannah Reinholt (in red) visted Foley Lake in Chilliwack to reconnect with nature and have a good time camping. They ended the trip helping to prevent an already-tragic situation from becoming far worse. (Submitted photo)

Good Samaritans help three people survive tragic ATV accident at Chilliwack-area lake

Two young children died, but if not for Joy Pringle and Hannah Reinholt, it could have been worse.

“Foley Lake in the Chilliwack River Valley where a side-by-side vehicle carrying five people went into the water on May 3, 2020 killing two children. (GoogleMaps)

Two Good Samaritans are credited with helping to save three people at Foley Lake in Chilliwack Sunday afternoon.

While RCMP confirm two children, aged nine and 10, died in a tragic off-road vehicle accident, two adults and a third child survived, thanks in part to the quick thinking and calm actions of Joy Pringle and her friend Hannah Reinholt.

The women live in Squamish and came to Foley Lake to unwind, reconnect with nature and remember Joy’s sister Bekah, who died in a car accident in December of 2018 and whose birthday is this week.

Joy and Hannah had finished camping and were packing up to leave when a kid on a dirt bike rode up asking for help.

“He said there was an accident with a side-by-side (SxS ATV-style vehicle) that was in the water,” Joy said. “With limited information we ran 10 minutes up a hill, and as we arrived we saw that the side-by-side fell down a 100 foot embankment into the lake.”

Joy said she scrambled down the embankment and realized two kids were strapped in the submerged vehicle by seat belts.

READ MORE: Two children killed in ATV accident in Chilliwack River Valley

READ MORE: Two taken to hospital after midnight boat crash on Harrison Lake

“I grabbed a nearby belly boat, jumped on and swam to where I could see bubbles coming out,” she recalled. “I dove down and tried my best to find them. I had no light and it was dark and cold and all I could feel was the tires. It was too deep and really cold, and I realized I couldn’t rescue them.

“I realized I would be putting my life at further risk, and I’d be unable to hold my breath long enough to pull them out even if I did find them.”

An RCMP news release Sunday said the vehicle was 15 feet deep. Joy said the frigid water took her breath away, and her lungs were burning as she finally came up for air.

Three other people who were in the side-by-side were sitting on the embankment and they were in bad shape. Joy described them as “pretty pale/bluish” and she administered first aid. They huddled together, trying to stay warm, and as they did that Hannah scrambled up and down the steep embankment several times bringing towels, blankets, dry clothes and hand warmers.

“She was an angel,” Joy said. “She literally ran over giving the clothes off her back.”

The two women sent for help immediately, but it takes at least an hour to get back into an area where there is cellular phone service, and Joy said it was a three or four hour wait until emergency crews responded. When police, fire and search and rescue arrived, Joy helped set up tarps and stayed with the two adults, who were injured and needed to be taken by boat to a waiting helicopter.

”There were two fisherman that arrived first and were quick thinking as well,” Joy added. “They gave me jackets too, when I was shivering. We all worked together. Everyone took care of each other.”

The third child was able to make it up the embankment with help from Joy and one of the fishermen, and Hannah placed him in a Jeep that was running with the heat on. The child’s uncle and cousins were there to comfort him, and Hannah kept checking in on him while Joy went back down the embankment to comfort the parents.

“The mom didn’t want to leave her kids alone in the water and I promised her that I would stay with her two children until they were recovered by the police dive team/SAR,” Joy said. “I’m proud that I could give the family peace of mind that the kids were never alone.

“I’m sad that I couldn’t do more, but we did everything that we could.”

Joys’ efforts were noticed. An emergency responder who wished to remain anonymous had this to say.

“When we arrived we found the parents beside the lake being attended to by a lady from Squamish who had already begun preliminary first aid for them. She got them as warm and comfortable as possible under the circumstances and she attempted to try to reach the submerged children.

“This young lady did a tremendous job yesterday and she deserves some acknowledgement for her cool headedness and assistance in a very difficult situation.”


@ProgressSports
eric.welsh@theprogress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

chilliwackSearch and Rescue

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

High tech fish transport system set up to ‘whoosh’ salmon past Big Bar landslide

Fish will spend about 20 seconds inside the system, moving at roughly 20 metres per second

100 Mile RCMP seek help in stolen credit card case

Card was used at multiple locations in 100 Mile House

Clinton RCMP seek assistance in Canoe Creek hit and run

A pedestrian was sent to hospital with serious injuries after vehicle failed to stop

Kelowna man charged with harming a hamster

The 20-year-old Kelowna man faces several animal cruelty charges

Trudeau to seek 10 days of paid sick leave for Canadian workers, says talks are ongoing

Paid sick leave is key to keeping COVID-19 spread under control, prime minister says

COVID-19 checkpoints ‘up to them,’ Bonnie Henry says of remote B.C. villages

Support local tourism economy, but only if you’re invited in

Vancouver Island hasn’t seen a new homegrown case of COVID-19 in two weeks

Island’s low and steady transmission rate chalked up to several factors

Eight people arrested in Victoria homeless camp after enforcement order issued

Those living in tents were given until May 20 to move indoors

Andrew Weaver says he was ready to defeat John Horgan government

Independent MLA blasts B.C. Greens over LNG opposition

44% fewer passengers flew on Canadian airlines in March 2020 than in 2019

COVID-19 pandemic has hit airlines hard as travel remains low

Commercial rent relief applications open as feds encourage landlords to apply

Program would see government cover 50 per cent of the rent

Most Read